Anhinga Nestlings – little skinheads of the rookery

Anhinga Nestlings

Having left behind the difficulties of 2013 which hampered my photo outings, I began the new year with a nice new lens. Cannot take full credit as family chipped in at Christmastime  to help me with the purchase!! Thanks to everyone (especially my Dad) who contributed to my favourite obsession!! Yeah, I know the deal is more people pictures…will do!!

My new lens is the Canon 300mm F4L IS USM telephoto lens. Here it is at B & H Photo Video where I bought it…take a  look at its features and user comments.  I can’t say enough about them as a vendor as they stand behind their products so solidly. On my small sensor 7D it behaves as a 480mm lens. This is fine for most of my birding activities. I wanted to upgrade my current 70-300mm zoom with this first ever prime lens (for me I mean 🙂 !!  I’ll confess to a rocky start with the new device as first time out I was shooting very late day and was trying F4 not having had that before. The exposure readings seemed so nice but this was a difficult  way to test something new with shallower depth of field than I was used to….and with active targets. So second time out I gave myself a chance to learn the lens by choosing  a much earlier and brighter time of day, using more forgiving F-stops like 5.6, 8 or 11, trying to ensure faster SS,  and making sure I used the correct IS mode. This made for a marvelous day with better results even knowing  that I have so much more to learn to get the most out of it technically and artistically. Oh, also, I’d better buy some 5 lb weights and pump up my arm strength…for more steady hand-holding  of this new lens. It’s only 2.6 lbs but added to the camera weight, needs some practice!

I thought I would put several different subjects from the second outing for variance in the lens performance, but stuck with the very young anhinga chicks for this post. While I have taken pictures of anhinga chicks before, these are the youngest at about a week or slightly more depending on which chick you pick!! I was fascinated by their wholly alien looking, writhing necks and heads! They are tender little things with tremulous movements of their heads and necks as they stretched for all they are worth seeking food and attention from their parents. Every nest has a dominant nestling, and that is quite evident in this one. I hope that you enjoy this collection of images of these fragile little skinheads!!

Anhinga nestlings


Anhinga Chick seeks attention from Dad

This young one lays its head on the back of its Dad for a moment as if trying to hold up that long, sinuous neck is tiring.  The male anhinga has a completely dark chest with the coppery crest feathers.

Anhinga Chicks_4896-s

Anhinga Mom and Hungry Chick

Here the dominant chick stretches to get the attention of Mom. The female anhinga has a tan/brown neck and head. Otherwise, the back feathers of both are similar.


I will enjoy the opportunity to learn expertise with the 300mm prime and share the images as I learn!!

With Thanks,


~ by Judy on February 18, 2014.

12 Responses to “Anhinga Nestlings – little skinheads of the rookery”

  1. really great photographs!! how close were you? I think 300 mm is already cool – but what do you think about a teleconverter?

    • I do not own a teleconverter but understand Canon’s 1.4x works admirably with the 300mm F4/L IS USM lens. Please visit a true master of bird action photography at the site of Phil Lanoue Photography. He uses that lens with the 1.4x converter with superb results as you can see!! I plan to try a converter in the future after quite a bit more learning on the new lens.

      Thanks for your comment on the anhinga chick images; it is wonderful to get that feedback.

  2. I’m happy for your new lens. My task is to learn to use what I have before heading off to something more complicated. It’s not that the learning curve is so steep, it’s that you have to start learning before it will curve. I swear – I ought to be able to find more time…

    But the photos are amazing. These have to be the ugliest chicks I’ve ever seen. Honestly. But the little one with Daddy is precious, and as long as their parents think they’re beautiful, what else matters? Is the color difference in the bills a male/female thing, too?

    Great photos. Have fun learning your new gizmo!

    • I understand that MO completely. It was years before I bought a third party filter set for Photoshop as I wanted to learn the basics before getting distracted with the world of options out there. Even then I never got to the bottom of all that Photoshop offers.

      LOL on only a chick a mother/father could love!! Someone had to say it. You were only beaten to it by my husband who already does not understand my attraction to these kinds of things.

      Oh, the male and female bill are alike, the image is just shadowed in the area of the male bill making it look darker than it is.

  3. That 300mm f/4L lens is supposed to be one of the best, and you photos already prove it!

    • That is great feedback to hear. I look forward to experimenting with some of my familiar subjects for a different look, quality and detail.

  4. I love that photo of the (almost) white neck snaked up around the (almost) black parent. What a contrast – in colour, form and the respective subjects’ ages. An excellent composition, as if you had arranged for them to pose.

    • Yeah, I was shooting and talking to some people at the same time. Then I saw that little guy put his head on Dad’s back and stopped to get it!! Sometimes I shoot and see things after I get home and review the files, and sometimes you see something neat and go after it. I like that interaction too.

  5. Awww, what sweet images!! And — a new lens! A new lens! I can’t wait to see it, and see you!!!

    • Ahh eye of the beholder!! I think they are very alien looking on the one hand and so sweet and helpless on the other. Maybe we’ll meet up and shoot them a bit older?? They grow so darned fast!!

      • YES! I have got to get out to the wetlands. It’s been a few weeks, and I’m up in Atlanta – AGAIN! Hahahah!

  6. Interesting photos. Enjoy the new lens.

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